by Jerry Spinelli
Maniac Magee Theme of Courage
Would a legend be a legend without courage? For Maniac, courage is an essential part of who he is and who he is able to become. Come on, he didn't get his own jump rope rhyme by being scared of things. But at the same time, does Maniac Magee show him as really courageous, or just a little clueless? Is he roommates with the baby buffalo because he make a conscious choice to overcome his fear or because he doesn't know enough to be afraid in the first place? And does it even really matter?
Questions About Courage
- If someone had sat Maniac down before he got to Two Mills and explained the difference between the East and West End, would he still have ended up East of Hector?
- Is Maniac the most courageous person in the story? If not Maniac, then who else?
- What is the most courageous thing Maniac does in the story?
- Is Grayson a courageous character? Why or why not?
Chew on This
If courage isn't the absence of fear but rather overcoming fear, then Maniac isn't actually courageous. For the most part, Maniac just doesn't feel fear, or doesn't know what to be afraid of.
Maniac may be the legend, but its those who love and stick their necks out for him who are truly courageous.